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Friday on the Ambulance (Sad But Inspirational)

February 12, 2013

So I promised I would talk about my shift on the ambulance last Friday night. My shift was from 6pm Friday to 6am Saturday. It was during the brunt of Super snow storm Nemo. Luckily we only had to go out once.

We got a tone out for a middle aged woman having severe trouble breathing. Thinking his would be a vey critical call we hauled ass in the snow to get there.

Upon our arrival we found a patient under the care of home health nurses. The patient was suffering from a terminal illness combined with aspirated pneumonia. The pneumonia was slowly filling the patients lungs, but her advanced directives said all we could do was administer oxygen, pain relief, and albuterol. This prevented us from using CPAP which pressurized the oxygen every time a patient breathes.

The patient was a mute, but could understand us completely and sign to us. The patient was their own guardian. The patient told us that they wanted to go to the hospice house instead of the hospital, where death would only be prolonged.

This call was very sad to me because this patient knew they were going to die, but was suffering no matter how much pain relief we give. The patient kept signing to us that they wanted to go to heaven.

The only thing that made me feel good about this call was that I could provide comfort in the form of holding a patients hand in the last few hours of there death. By the time we reached the hospice center, the patient was barely getting any air movement.

The rest of the shift went by quietly and we awoke to three feet of snow piled up in front of our base doors.

This was the saddest I have experienced. It has also helped me grow as an EMT because I was able to comfort someone in their time of need and I was doing what I have always wanted to do. I am okay with death, but no one wants to see anyone die. This call has motivated me more to continue with EMS.

I apologize for any spelling and/or grammar mistakes. I am posting this on m iPod.



From → Daily Post, EMS

  1. Only one job on a 12 hour shift, that would be a holiday where I worked. However, it was a sobering call to attend, and gave you reason for contemplation. Sometimes, there is little more to be done, than just to be a comforting presence, and a last human contact, during someone’s last hours. Now you have experienced this, it will never be as bad again; and you handled yourself very well, by the sound of it. Regards, Pete.

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